1st International Conference of the Literary Society of Pakistan

Two-day International Conference of the Literary Society of Pakistan“ Getting our Bearings Right: Literature, Society and Prosperity” was jointly hosted by the Department of English and Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue at the Quaid-i-Azam Auditorium Complex, Faisal Mosque Campus, International Islamic University Islamabad, on 26th and 27th April 2019.

Around 100 scholars from across the country and abroad presented their research papers on different themes of the conference. Six International speakers including world renowned novelist and activist, Arundhati Roy, Prof. Cara Cilano, Dr. Esra Santesso, Dr. Madeline Clements, Dr. Rahul Bjorn Parson and Dr. Snehal Shingavi also participated in the conference.

In conversation with Muhammad Sheeraz Dasti, Arundhati Roy talked about her recently published novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and said that it’s part of a writer’s job to resist oppression. Dr. Cara Cilano presented her research paper on what she called the “corrupt texts” reflecting on how discourses are controlled by the imperialists who use discursive means of control. Dr. Esra Santesso highlighted the works depicting Female Heroes and theme of Social Justice in Graphic Narratives.Dr. Rahul Bjorn Parson presented his findings on “Confluences at the end of the Ganges: Neo-liberal Reform and Kolkata’s Literary Resistance”. Dr. Madeline Amelia Clements gave her keynote on “Making Sense of Conversion to Christianity in Twentieth-Century Pakistan: Two Muslim Women’s Co-Authored Autobiographies as Crafted Accounts”. Dr. Snehal Shingavi presented his paper on “Nation, Class, and Gender: Joginder Paul’s Ek Boond Lahu Ki and the Crisis in Nehruvian Socialism”.

Along with international speakers, some of the leading national intellectuals also participated in the conference. They included Dr. Asif Farrukhi, Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Prof. Dr. Safeer Awan, Dr. Shaheena Ayub Bhatti, Dr. Rashid Hameed, Prof. Dr. Wasima Shehzad, Dr. Nukhbah Langah, Dr. Salahuddin Mengal, Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Memon, Dr. Sibghat Ullah Khan, Prof. Dr Mazhar Hayat, Dr. Hamid Ali Baloch, Dr. Arhsad Mahmood Nashad and Dr. Abdullah Jan Abid.

With four keynotes, two plenary sessions, one conversation with the author, one interactive session and fifteen parallel sessions, this inaugural conference of the Literary Society of Pakistan provided scholars with a platform to delve into literary representations of the conditions of the millions of people living in the impoverished Global South. It investigated how literature and literary criticism can be helpful in starting debates that can ultimately influence policies in favour of the deprived by suggesting how prosperity and literature could be interlinked. Prof. Dr. Ayaz Afsar was the conference chair, Dr. Husnul Amin was the conference coordinator, and Dr. Muhammad Sheeraz Dasti was the conference secretary while the core team of organizers included Dr. Akhtar Aziz, Dr. Arshad Mahmood Raja, Mr. Farrukh Nadeem, Dr. Khalid Mahmood, Dr. Ameer Sultan, Syed Rashid Mahmood, Mr. Muhammad Ismail, Mr. Mahmood-ul-Hassan, and Mr. Muhammad Numan.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Cara Cilano
Department of English
Michigan State University, USA
Dr. Esra Santesso
Department of English
University of Georgia, USA
Dr. Madeline Clements
Department of English Studies
Teesside University, UK
Professor Miriam Cooke
Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures
Duke University, USA
Dr. Rahul Bjorn Parson
Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations
University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
Shahnaz Bashir
(Author of The Half Mother and Scattered Souls)
Department of Convergent Journalism
Central University of Kashmir
Dr. Snehal Shingavi
Department of English
University of Texas at Austen, USA

Invited Speakers

Prof. Dr. Abdul Aziz Sahir
Chairman Department of Urdu
Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad
Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Memon
Professor of Sindhi
University of Karachi
Dr. Abdullah Jan Abid
Chairman Department of Pakistani Languages
Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad
Dr. Arshad Mahmood Nashad
Department of Urdu
Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad
Dr. Asif Farrukhi
Writer, Critic and Translator
Interim Dean
School of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Habib University, Karachi
Dr. Hamid Ali Baloch Department of Balochi University of Baluchistan  
Mr. Iftikhar Arif
Director General
Urdu Language Promotion Department
Dr. Javed Ahsan Chandio
Chairman Department of Saraiki
Islamia University Bahawalpur
Prof. Dr. Mazhar Hayat
Professor of English
GC University Lahore
Dr. Nasir Abbas Nayyar
Director General
Urdu Science Board Lahore  
Dr. Nukhbah Langah
Dean of Humanities
Forman Christian College, Lahore
Dr. Rashid Hameed
Director General
Pakistan Academy of Letters


Dr. Safeer Awan
Dean, Faculty of English Studies
National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad
Dr. Sibghat Ullah Khan
Department of English
National University of Modern Languages Islamabad
Dr. Shaheena Ayub Bhatti
Director, WRRC
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi
Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui
Dean Faculty of Social Sciences
National University of Modern Languages
Dr. Wasima Shehzad
Faculty of Social Sciences
Air University, Islamabad

Organizing Committee

Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Yousif A. Al-Draiweesh              



Prof. Dr. Munawar Iqbal Ahmad Conference Chair
Prof. Dr. Ayaz Afsar Member/Coordinator Academic Committee
Dr. Akhtar Aziz Member/Coordinator Administrative Committee
Mr. Faisal Rasheed Member/Coordinator Registration Committee
Mr. Farrukh Nadeem Member/Coordinator Venue Management Committee
Mr. Arshad Mahmood Raja Member/Coordinator Board and Lodge
Mr. Muhammad Nadeem Member/Coordinator Refreshment Committee
Dr. Ameer Sultan Member/Coordinator Transportation
Dr. Khalid Mahmood Member/Coordinator Publications and Media
Mr. Mahmood ul Hassan Coordinator (Budgeting and Purchase)
Mr. Rizwan Aftab Member
Mr. Kausar Mahmood Member
Mr. Rashid Mahmood Member
Mr. Abdul Haseeb Khan Member
Dr. Muhammad Sheeraz Conference Secretary
Dr. Abdullah Jan Abid (General Secretary LSP/ Chairman Department of Pakistani Languages, AIOU) External Member
Mr. Muhammad Awais bin Wasi (Executive Member LSP/ Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, Riphah International University) External Member

About Islamabad

One of the most beautiful cities of the world, Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. It is located in the Islamabad Capital Territory. Lying at altitudes ranging from 457 to 610 meters in the foot of the Margalla Hills in the north and northeast, Islamabad is Pakistan’s most diverse metropolis in terms of the population makeup of the city, and with its inviting and reasonably temperate climate, its lush green scenery and excellent basic infrastructure, it has the largest expatriate and foreigner population in the country.

Pakistan Monument, Shakarparian Hills, Daman-e-Koh, Buddhist Caves in Shah Allah Ditta, Said Pur Village, Lok Virsa Cultural Center, Rose and Jasmine Garden, Margalla Hills National Park, and Lake View Park are some of the many attractions that make Islamabad a stopping point for tourists who desire to proceed to the Northern Areas of the country for trekking, hiking, adventure sports and mountaineering.
(For more info, please visit: http://www.cda.gov.pk/about_islamabad/vitalstats.asp)

About International Islamic University Islamabad

The foundation of the Islamic University, Islamabad was laid on the first day of the fifteenth century Hijrah i.e., Muharram 1, 1401 (November 11,1980). This landmark of the beginning of the new Century symbolizes the aspirations and hopes of the Muslim Ummah for an Islamic renaissance. The university was created to produce scholars and practitioners who are imbued with Islamic ideology, whose character and personality conforms to the teachings of Islam, and who are capable to cater to the economic, social, political, technological and intellectual needs of the Muslim Ummah. Islamic Research Institute and few other units like Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue, Dawah Academy, Shariah Academy and Institute of Professional Development are situated within the premises of majestic Faisal Mosque (spread over an area of 189,705 square meters). The university provides academic services to men and women through separate campuses located in sector H-10.The mission of the university is to develop an international Islamic seat of higher learning, research instruction and training in various branches of knowledge … to be taught, studied, developed and reconstructed in such a way as to produce a balanced and harmonious human personality. With about 1500 students from 35 different countries of the world—Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea, Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia, and Africa—the IIUI is Pakistan’s only university with a cosmopolitan outlook that is house to one of Pakistan’s largest student populationi.e., more than 30000 students. The university is open to all without any discrimination of caste, creed, color, nation, race, religion or sex. The IIUI is proud of its current academic links with the following foreign universities: University of North Carolina in Wilmington, USA; University of Birmingham, UK; Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey; Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt; UmmulQura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia; Islamic University, Madina, Saudi Arabia; Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; King Abdul Aziz University, Jaddah, Saudi Arabia. (For more info, please visit http://iiu.edu.pk/)

About English Department International Islamic University Islamabad

The Department of English at the International Islamic University offers degree programs in BS (4-year), MA, MPhil, and PhD. Our graduate and undergraduate programs help students master the necessary language, reading, research and IT skills required to lead a successful professional life. Adopting the time-tested traditions of English Language and Literature, and aligning them with the changing needs of Pakistani society as well as the Muslim Ummah are our guiding principles. We follow the International Islamic University’s mission and work hard to contribute towards an Islamic renaissance.

While designing the syllabi, we have tried to strike a harmonious balance between Literature and Language; subjects like Creative Writing, Developing Writing Skills, Effective Communication, Linguistics, Phonology, ESP, Translation Skills, etc. provide that necessary balance between Language and Literature. In order to cultivate a more encompassing and analytical approach towards literature, subjects like Comparative Literature, Pakistani Literature in English, Narrative Discourse, Corpus Linguistics, Islam and Modern Western Thoughts, have also been introduced in our degree programs.

One of the distinguishing features of studying English in our department is our cosmopolitan outlook. We have around 150 students from over 10 countries, which means whichever module you take, you will have the opportunity to study and share ideas with intelligent and passionate individuals from around the globe. In addition, the department has strong academic links with North Carolina University in the USA, the University of Birmingham in the UK, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of North Texas in the USA and Michigan State University.

The English department also boasts state of the art facilities to aid students in their academic progress. We have the largest university library in Pakistan, with over a million books, as well as a number of computer rooms with printing and scanning capabilities. Our greatest asset however is our highly dedicated staff (we currently have thirteen PhDs, and most of the rest of them hold MPhil degrees). Our students regularly achieve outstanding results, and our alumni have gone on to: join the civil service, work as journalists in leading English dailies, teach in premier educational institutions of the country, join Arab countries to become English Language Teachers, and continue their education at top universities abroad.

Most of the extra-curricular activities in the department are organized by English Literary Society (ELS) and Contemporary Poetics Forum (CPF). The office bearers of the ELS and the CPF are students, who under the guidance of the faculty members organize a myriad of literary and extra-curricular activities. These activities are instrumental in endowing students with confidence and self-belief. Our Career Counselling Forum guides the students towards pursuing a successful career. (For more info, please visit: http://www.iiu.edu.pk/?page_id=2605)

About Literary Society of Pakistan

Founded in October 2017 as a non-profit organization, the Literary Society of Pakistan aims at promoting literature in Pakistan. It also aims to celebrate Pakistani literature produced in Pakistani languages including but not limited to Balochi, Brahui, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, and Urdu. The Society is equally proud of Pakistan’s Anglophone literature.

The Society is committed to providing platforms (website, social media groups and pages, conferences, reading sessions, seminars, symposia) where Pakistani writers and writing can be published, read, discussed, and appreciated. From writers, we mean all the creative and academic practitioners, and from writings we mean all genres and styles of literary and critical works. The Society also regards translators and sees translation as a significant means of engaging in cross-cultural dialogues within Pakistan and abroad.

We work with an understanding that literature produced in different regions of Pakistan builds and is build out of a wide range of geographical, social, cultural, and historical contexts that add to the richness and beauty of this world.

Literary Society of Pakistan’s membership is open to anyone interested in literature: poets, novelists, writers of short and flash fiction or creative non-fiction, scholars and literary critics, and students and teachers of literature.